Horse is hard to get into a canter. input needed!! - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-05-2014, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Horse is hard to get into a canter. input needed!!

So before I purchased my 18 (will be 19 in a couple months) year old Haflinger gelding I had free leased him. And I had a lameness exam done on him before I handed over the cash for him. He is older so I knew he wasn't going to come out 110% clean but aslong as nothing was limiting him from doing the kind of riding I wanted to use him for it wasn't a big deal.

Okay so she came out and gave him a full lameness exam and flexion test. She also watched me ride him under saddle and evaluated him. So he flexed 1/5 on his RF fetlock and 1/5 on his LH stifle and 1/5 on the LH hock. Everything else flexed perfectly. The vet commented on how well he did for his age on the flexions/lameness eval.

Now, he is super hard to get into the canter and it is nearly impossible to get him into the canter going counter-clockwise. I am assuming that is because it's going left and he does have some slight arthritis in that left hind hock/stifle. I can eventually get him into a canter going clockwise but he will never hold it for very long.

I do plan on putting him on the generic form of Adequan soon, once I get alittle more money. But I was wondering what y'all thought about this? He's not in any back pain and I have buted him before a ride thinking it was pain related to his LH and he still will refuse to go into the canter. He will also pop his butt off the ground if I ask him to do something he doesn't want to do but that's him being his normal bratty self.

The vet suggested I bute him everyday before I ride for a week (ride for a week straight) and see if he still refuses to go into the canter. She wasn't sure if it was related to pain or if he's just being stubborn and hasn't been cantered much counter clockwise. (When I got him he hadn't been ridden in over a year).

The vet did say we can inject his joints but I don't really want to do that. And she also told me he wasn't limited to do anything so I can still jump and do barrels or whatever. Even though I mostly just stick to flat work sometimes I play around on other disciplines.

Anyone have any help or input they could provide? It would be much appericiated!
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-06-2014, 06:06 AM Thread Starter
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Bumping :)
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-06-2014, 07:08 AM
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Does he canter freely in the field? Have you tried lunging him on a larger circle in canter?

If he hasn't had a hard life, and his flexion tests came back relatively clean for his age, he may either be in pain or being a pain.

Have you changed his saddle, or bridle? I had problems with my previous 19yo dressage school master with his mouth. I didn't think that the room in his mouth gets less with age and he was having difficulty with the size of bit in his mouth.

I would consider the bute for a week, or get a physio out to check his legs and back out.
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-06-2014, 07:43 AM
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Does he drive? Lots of harness horses are taught not to break into a canter.
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-06-2014, 09:25 AM
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I work with a 12 year old haflinger gelding. When he first came to us the owner told us that the gelding would NEVER canter, and that he expected that he never would.
Long story short... he DOES canter now. It isn't exactly pretty, but he does try. Now when we were first trying to get him to canter it was obvious his owner was probably right in the fact that he hadn't cantered under saddle before this. Really the best thing that helped him was a larger space to get going. He just didn't have the ability to get himself into a canter and keep it, in a small arena. He can now canter in the arenas just fine. I don't usually let a horse "run" into the canter, but I did allow him to do this, as he really had no clue what I wanted him to do. He would also canter a bit more willingly if we went out into an open field with another horse and had a good canter!
He will now go into the canter from a standstill, but that took a lot of time and work.
Just like your horse, cantering to the left is not his favorite thing. He will do it, but it takes a lot of work to get him there.
Have you ever had a chiropractor look at him? This helped our haflinger. He was a bit sore in his back, and it did help him to have work done.
And our haflinger is the most stubborn horse in the world! If he doesn't want to do something you can bet there will be some attitude. This is less and less, but he is still quite the character. =]
Good luck with your guy!
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-06-2014, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuffyDuck View Post
Does he canter freely in the field? Have you tried lunging him on a larger circle in canter?

If he hasn't had a hard life, and his flexion tests came back relatively clean for his age, he may either be in pain or being a pain.

Have you changed his saddle, or bridle? I had problems with my previous 19yo dressage school master with his mouth. I didn't think that the room in his mouth gets less with age and he was having difficulty with the size of bit in his mouth.

I would consider the bute for a week, or get a physio out to check his legs and back out.
He has cantered before in the field for a few strides I've seen. Normally though he will just trot or fast trot.

We've used different saddles and he still does it. I use the same bit because that's the only one I can get him to listen in.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-06-2014, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SueNH View Post
Does he drive? Lots of harness horses are taught not to break into a canter.
Yes, I was told her drives and I believe was Amish taught. I was thinking that could be the case too. But I know someone has worked on dressage with him so he knows how to canter. Just getting it out of him is absolutely tedious.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-06-2014, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowgirls Boots View Post
Yes, I was told her drives and I believe was Amish taught. I was thinking that could be the case too. But I know someone has worked on dressage with him so he knows how to canter. Just getting it out of him is absolutely tedious.
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My 14 yo Haflinger is a rides and drives. He was trained driving first, and I'm mainly putting in the saddle time and finishing touches on that. The first year I had him, he refused ... refused ... to pick up a canter, even though I knew he could canter around by himself no problem.

So one day, I told him to lope, using his name first like his cheat sheet (when I got him, he came with a list of commands that he knows, like 'gee' and 'haw' etc.) said. Lope was a command on there, and boom, he went right into a canter. He's gotten even better about listening to voice commands now that I'm driving him as well.

Right now, I'm cuing for the canter and asking him to lope at the same time just so he gets used to the idea that the leg cue is the same thing. And then every now and then, I'll ask with just the leg cue, and he picks it right up.

Of course, now he won't canter in the cart, we've been stuck in trot mode for a year, but we're working on it.

Good luck.
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